Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Taro Milk Tea from Cocoa Cafe

Yesterday, I reviewed my mediocre horchata from Toma, and mentioned that sometimes I get a bit obsessed with certain items of food, or particular drinks.  I start craving them all the time, and need to try as many different versions of the item as possible.  Horchata has been a recent obsession, but taro milk tea, has been my other, for much longer.  If I see it on a menu, I am incapable of resisting.  If the weather gets remotely nice out, I start craving taro milk tea, even more than ice cream.

So when the weather recently got nice, I started seeking out new sources of taro milk tea.  Sure, I've tried a number of different options in the city, but I feel silly having Quickly as my favorite thus far, so I wanted to try to find a more respectable option.  Cocoa Cafe is a recent addition to the city, so I decided to check it out.

I ordered through eat24, via the mobile Paypal app, when I was two blocks away.  My drink was just being finished off right as I walked in the door.  Perfect timing.  Ordering through the app was easy, as was the pickup.  Technology wins at this one.

The shop is tiny, with a single table and a few stools along a bar in the window.  Along with assorted milk teas/slushies/smoothies, they also sell sandwiches during the day, and bagels in the morning.  They also have an impressive line up of packaged beverages (including tons from VitaSoy) and a slew of different chips, which, I guess makes sense given that they are largely a sandwich shop.

But, I had eyes for only one thing: the taro milk tea, with tapioca of course!
Taro Milk Tea with Tapioca. $3.50.
Milk teas were available in a host of flavors, but of course, I went for the taro, always my favorite.  One size only, $3, but you could add tapioca or jellies for an additional $0.50, which of course I did. I'm pretty predictable with my milk tea order, and add tapioca every time (although I did veer off and order the slush at Quickly once, and added taro pudding instead of tapioca another time at Quickly).

The tapioca were large and black, really well executed, not too firm, not too soft, and they didn't clump up at all.  Much better than the far too soft ones from Little Garden.  Perhaps the best tapioca I've encountered so far.  The amount also seemed just right, enough to get one in most sips, but not overwhelming.  Again, well done!

The milk tea itself was sweet, but not too sweet.  Ojan took one sip and said it was too sweet, but I enjoyed it.  It was creamy, but not too creamy.  Much better in both of these elements than the one from Quickly that was both too creamy and too sweet, although every other time I've gotten it from Quickly, it has been perfect.  However, the taro flavor just wasn't there.  Yes, it was a lovely shade of purple, but I didn't taste taro.  Clearly made with flavored powder, not real taro like the one from Miss Saigon.   And given how my stomach felt after, clearly authentic, made with non dairy substitute.  Whoops.

It wasn't served in a classic bubble tea cup with the plastic wrap over the top, but rather with a regular lid, but it of course did come with a large straw to suck up my boba.

Price was higher than Quickly, but about on par from any restaurant, perhaps a tiny bit high for the location and casual nature of the shop.

Overall, decently done, and I'd get another if I were in the area, and I'd probably try out some of their other add-in options too.
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